Messaging platform Telegram has seemingly abdicated from its boastings of being a free speech platform, having reportedly caved to external pressure to ban news outlet Russia Today.
However, alt-tech video platform Rumble has opted to stand by their principles, releasing a statement that they will continue to be a neutral platform and not remove the Russian-funded news outlet.
Reportedly, the European Union had been applying the pressure to Telegram to fall in line with the spirit of their sanctions against Russia Today (RT), with European Commission Values and Transparency VP Věra Jourová telling Politico, “The rules are clear. There cannot be any circumvention. All actors should take their responsibilities. First, because it is the law in the EU. Second, everyone has understood what is at stake by now.”
Internal Markets Commissioner Thierry Breton mirrored similar sentiments regarding Telegram, saying, “We will not rest until everyone – including messenger services — take their responsibility in countering the Kremlin’s war propaganda.”
By March 4th, Telegram caved and blocked access to RT within the European Union.
As for Rumble, who had issued a statement on March 3rd in light of false reports suggesting RT had just recently joined the platform, they’ve voiced their intention to not buckle as the demands of governments to silence creators on their platform.
“The U.S. mainstream media, as it so often does when writing about Rumble, has spent the day disseminating a completely false and misleading story about our relationship to Russia-state news network RT. Contrary to false reports, RT did not join Rumble today or any time in the last several weeks.
“To the contrary, RT, like thousands of other users, has for a long while used Rumble, along with several other tech platforms, to publish their content. In this regard, their use of Rumble is exactly the same as their use of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter: they are like any other user, availing themselves of our platform.
“Rumble is a neutral video platform, built on the belief that all creators should have the opportunity to freely express themselves and reach their followers without censorship or restrictions. You cannot fight aggressive authoritarians by surrendering a key principle that separates us from them.”
Even the ostensibly left-leaning journalist Glenn Greenwald applauded Rumble’s decision, saying that private companies shouldn’t participate in censorship “at the behest of DC Democrats.”
“I’m proud to be associated with several of the handful of growing social media and news platforms that reject the hubristic view that its duty is to anoint itself arbiters of truth and falsity, and then censor the internet at the behest of DC Democrats and the US Security State.”
I'm proud to be associated with several of the handful of growing social media and news platforms that reject the hubristic view that its duty is to anoint itself arbiters of truth and falsity, and then censor the internet at the behest of DC Democrats and the US Security State. https://t.co/Zwe3E9CHUZ
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 4, 2022